Skip to content

movie review

Thor: The Dark World, A Fantastic Return To Marvel’s Universe

thor-dark-world-poster

Update: just added new Preview below.

In the latest Marvel superhero mega-movie, the stakes are as big as can be and so is the movie. We saw Thor: The Dark World in 3D which made the film appear even bigger as much of the action jumps off the screen at you. As a sequel to Thor (and really, The Avengers), The Dark World progressed the story along nicely, and had all the elements a superhero movie requires.

Natalie Portman returns to play astrophysicist Jane Foster, and Thor’s love interest from the first movie. We find the hammer wielding god, played for the third time by Chris Hemsworth, in the role of peacekeeper in the 9 realms that Asgardians rule over. In his heart Thor pines for Foster. That this love is forbidden gets a little play at the start of the film and then is abandoned once the bad guy sets his evil plan in motion.

The bad guy is Malekith (played wonderfully by Christopher Eccleston), leader of the Dark Elves (who hail from a time before the universe was created and they’re a little cranky about that who light and goodness thing). Eccleston was pretty unrecognizable under all that makeup, but it gave him a sort of Dark Vader eeriness, and Eccleston’s acting helped elevate him into a suitable opponent for Thor. Malekith’s cohorts wore masks most of the time, reminding me alternatively of Storm Troopers (but with better aim) or, here’s your Disney reference, Spectromagic Dolls (a real horror for those in the know).

thor-dark-world-malkeith-med

The conflict, when it comes, is what I call comicbook violence. People die, but there’s no blood. When gods are fighting each other the stakes still manage to feel real and when humanity is involved, we are essentially ants to those with superhero abilities. That’s how it should be. The film earns its PG-13 rating, but it you have a mature kid who’s a little younger, they’ll probably be fine. Read More »Thor: The Dark World, A Fantastic Return To Marvel’s Universe

Wreck-It Ralph

John’s Review of Wreck-It Ralph, Disney Animation Gets Top Score

Wreck-it Ralph Poster

This year Disney released two animated features (Three if you count Frankenweenie, but we won’t include stop-motion for the purpose of this article). One stars a princess who breaks from tradition and discovers that family is at the core of what’s important, the other features incredible worlds crafted from scratch, ground breaking computer animation, and a story that is full of heart. Normally, you’d say Disney Animation released the Princess film and Pixar the other, but this year the roles are reversed. With Brave, Pixar ventured into what was traditionally Disney’s territory, so it’s only fair that Disney Animation Studios returns the favor.

I’m happy to say that with Wreck-it Ralph, Walt Disney Animation Studios has returned to the top of the animation game, matching, if not surpassing, anything you would expect from its more successful partner up in Emeryville. It does this while remaining true to the core values of Disney animation, which is a focus on great story and characters who you really feel for.

WRECK-IT RALPH Sugar Rush Game Cabine

In Wreck-it Ralph, Disney attempts to do for video games what Pixar’s Toy Story did for toys; Give us insight into the world that goes on when humans aren’t around. In this case the movie starts inside the classic 1982 arcade game Fix-it Felix Jr. The titular character is the game’s bad-guy; always destroying and then being defeated night game after game. After 30 years this begins to weigh on him so much that he visits a support group for video game bad-guys. But what really sets him off is when the other characters have a party celebrating the game’s 30 years of being plugged in and fail to invite him.

Read More »John’s Review of Wreck-It Ralph, Disney Animation Gets Top Score

Finding Nemo 3D Review

When I first heard that Disney had selected Pixar’s Finding Nemo to be one of the movies retooled for Disney digital 3D, I thought back to when I first saw the film in the theaters. Even back then I thought it would make a great… Read More »Finding Nemo 3D Review

John Carter Film Review

There appears to be a disinformation campaign coming out of Hollywood. The visceral dislike of Disney Studios head Rich Ross, former marketing head MT Carney, and the envy of untouchable Pixar have combined to make Disney’s latest film a target of attacks. Opportunists who hadn’t even seen the film saw an opening to attack the Mouse House and have been making some wild accusations about “John Carter.” It’s way over budget (not true), the marketing was awful (definitely true), and it will be the next Ishtar (or perhaps Prince of Persia). The later is only true if one thing happens, we fans don’t get the word out about how great a film John Carter actually is.

Andrew Stanton and crew are in top form in John Carter, and aside from a few small technical snafus, have created a movie that fits in near the top of the action-adventure genre (think Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Avatar, and Superman). But it is also a typical Andrew Stanton film, in that the movie manages to transcend its genre.

Stanton combined elements from the first two books in Edgar Rice Burroughs “Princess of Mars” series and weaved together a story that will please fans of the series while also updating the story just a bit for modern audiences. Earthling John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) stumbles upon a portal to Mars (known as Barsoom to its occupants) while searching for gold and trying to forget a personal tragedy. On Mars, Carter finds himself in the middle of an epic battle for the fate of a planet, falling in love with the most beautiful woman on Barsoom, and gifted with unique powers that makes him a uniquely effective fighter. By making unusual allies, Carter is able to overcome impossible odds and become John Carter of Mars.

Read More »John Carter Film Review

Enchanted on DVD and Blu-ray DVD

Enchanteddvdboxart I was not lucky enough to see Enchanted in the theaters. I heard about how wonderful Amy Adams was and how the whole film just worked from start to finish. Well now that I’ve seen it on DVD, all I can say is go out and get a copy right away. The movie is sweet, endearing and enchanting for every minute it’s on screen. It’s not going to go down as the best Disney film ever, but it ranks right up there with some of the classics.

Also of note is the use of animation that bookends the film’s New York City setting. This was the first hand drawn animation from the Mouse House as they embarked on a journey back to regularly using hand drawn animation in feature animation. I was impressed with how close the animation was to some of the classics, a move that was intentional, but I don’t want to give away too much of the film. Let’s just say that the number of ‘homages’ to other Disney films is substantial.

The Enchanted DVD comes with a few excellent extras that make the DVD a pleasurable viewing experience. Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, and a behind the scenes featurette will keep your interest. Sadly, there is no director’s commentary from director Kevin Lima. I know he’s a funny and intelligent man and think knowing his views and choices would be a nice addition.

The Full Press Release is below the cut

Read More »Enchanted on DVD and Blu-ray DVD